Local News

Flasher reported on American Tobacco Trail

Posted October 31, 2011

— Police on Monday warned women not to be alone on a popular walking and biking trail in Durham after four incidents of indecent exposure occurred within eight days on the trail.

The reported flashing incidents occurred on Oct. 23 and again Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the American Tobacco Trail in southern Durham, police said. The description of the culprit is fairly similar in all four cases – a white man in his 30s or 40s and about 6 feet tall.

"We don't know for sure (if it's the same man), but the descriptions really are close," said Lt. Patrice Vickers of the Durham Police Department.

Investigators say he gets a woman's attention, exposes himself and runs away. In two cases, the women reported that the man was nude, wearing only a red bandanna once and a small hat another time. In the other two cases, he was wearing short black running shorts and a T-shirt.

The incidents happened between Woodcroft Parkway and Crooked Creek Parkway, between Fayetteville and Otis streets, near Scott King Road and near Legacy Lane and Fayetteville Road. Three incidents happened in the morning, while Saturday's occurred in the middle of the afternoon.

Vickers described the flasher or flashers as brazen.

"We know that he is taking chances," she said. "This is in broad daylight. He is taking extreme chances of being caught by someone other than the victim."

American Tobacco Trail Police: Trail flasher is brazen

Although some of the women weren't alone when they were flashed, police urged women using the American Tobacco Trail to find a partner to walk, jog or ride bicycles.

"You should never go by yourself. Always have someone with you," Vickers said. "Dogs are a great deterrent, however, you can't really judge what a dog will do."

Rebecca Savitski said she goes on the trail a couple of times a week and often sees other women on the trail alone. She said she won't be visiting the trail by herself again soon.

"It's in the middle of the day, so you feel safe, but I guess it's not the smartest thing to be on the trail by yourself," Savitski said.

Durham police officers have been patrolling the trail since the first incident was reported, and they asked people to call 911 to report any suspicious activity on or near the American Tobacco Trail.

Anyone with information about any of the four exposure incidents is asked to call Durham police at 919-560-4582, extension 29370.


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  • hemerocallis Nov 1, 2011

    I plan on getting some pepper spray today (if I can find a store near where I work/live that sells it). I am not going to let some guy showing his junk ruin my time running.

    I sure hope that (as someone commented yesterday) that this is a guy who may have lost a bet and is done with this flashing business.

  • ligonmaterial23 Nov 1, 2011

    some mace in that area should cure him

  • PhotoJ Nov 1, 2011

    I agree with RaleighPirate - this would constitute a legitimate reason to blast this fool with pepper spray - if close enough, a taser would also be warranted. Put him down, call the cops, end of story.

  • Vietnam Vet Oct 31, 2011

    I know that some folks adhere to the saying that "It pays to advertise..." Some sick folks out there...

  • Joe Schmoe Oct 31, 2011

    Hmm... wonder what pepper spray does to sensitive skin.

  • Realamerican71 Oct 31, 2011

    Someone needs to pop this guy with a paintball gun and post it on youtube. That would be funny.

  • beaconoflight32 Oct 31, 2011

    Well said "PurlsofWisdom"

  • Been there once Oct 31, 2011

    Do you think he'll be back this weekend??? And where was he wearing the black bandanna!!

  • sumpinlikedat Oct 31, 2011

    "Why don't you ever hear of women jumping out of the woods and flashing men while they're jogging?"

    Because the men involved would rather it happened again?

  • davidgnews Oct 31, 2011

    With the chilly weather, I'm surprised the women didn't laugh them away.